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India tour of Australia

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut

Shubman Gill has won the heart of millions of fans in India after his impressive debut Test series against Australia, which concluded earlier this month. Playing as an opener, he was confident and played fearlessly against the strong Australian attack. But the youngster has revealed that he had a nervous breakdown.

Speaking to Forbes India, Shubman Gill shared his feeling when India was all for 36 in the second innings of the first Test, which became the lowest total of India in Tests. This was a shocker for both the Indian players and the fans and things changed pretty quickly in the favour of the hosts in the third innings.

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut 1
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Twitter.

Shubman Gill recalled that it was a shocking event for the whole Indian team. They could not take it down their neck that the team has been bowled out for just 36 runs after having two best days.

“When the 36-all-out happened in Adelaide, it was really shocking for us. We didn’t know how to react because everything happened so quickly. We didn’t get the time to absorb it. We were in a comfortable position in the match, and in an hour everything changed, Shubman Gill told Forbes India.

However, Gill was confident about contributing positively towards the Indian team as he didn’t want the series to be remembered as “the great Adelaide collapse”.

What really triggered me was that the day after this incident there was a news item that said “the great Adelaide collapse”. I was reading it and all I could think at that time was that I don’t want the series to be remembered in terms of the collapse,” he added.

I couldn’t sleep and had to take a sleeping pill: Shubman Gill

I Couldn’t Sleep And Had To Take A Sleeping Pill – Shubman Gill Before Making His Test Debut 2
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Opening about his condition before making his Test debut, Gill revealed that due to nervousness and anxiety he couldn’t sleep the whole night and had to take sleeping pills.

“Before our first match [in Adelaide], I knew I’ll get to debut in the MCG match. I couldn’t sleep and had to take a sleeping pill. Next morning, on the first day of the Test, we were fielding first. It didn’t hit me then that I was making my debut since the entire team was on the field.

Gill had a memorable debut as he scored 45 and 35 not out across the two innings in Melbourne and helped India in winning the game by 8 wickets and levelling the series by 1-1. He played another outstanding knock in the fourth Test although he missed his century. He scored 91 runs in The Gabba to give a solid foundation after which Rishabh Pant scored an explosive 83 runs to guide India to retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21.

Image Credit: Getty Images.
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World Test Championship 2020-21 Final Postponed: Reports

The grand finale of the ICC World Test Championship 2020-21 is likely to be played from June 18 to 22 with June 23 acting as a reserve day. Initially, it was scheduled to be held from June 10 to 14 at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.

According to ANI, the reason for the postponement of the original schedule has been done keeping in mind the proximity between the WTC final and the final of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League although the dates have not been yet officially announced. Also, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, players have to quarantine. Thus, ICC has pushed dates for the smooth running of the schedule.

India and New Zealand are the top two in the current World Test Championship table:

India Wins Against Australia
India Wins Against Australia. Image Credit: Twitter.

Currently, India and New Zealand are placed at the top two spots in the World Test Championship standings. Virat Kohli’s side has 430 points after playing five series, while New Zealand has 420 points after playing five series.

India is coming off a historic win against Australia in the Test series after which they propelled to number one position in the points table. They will take on against England as part of WTC and Australia, which is placed at the third spot, will be taking on South Africa. Australia would be required to win against South Africa if Tim Paine and the boys wish to make it to the finals of WTC.

World Test Championship 2020-21 Final Postponed: Reports 3
Team India. Image Credit: BCCI.

After the pandemic as teams could not play all the Test series, ICC brought a new system for ranking the team in the World Test Championship points table. The WTC table has now been revised to rank teams based on the percentage of points earned from the series played, meaning teams are ranked in order of percentage of points earned

Bharat Arun Defend Virat Kohli As Talks Of Ajinkya Rahane To Be The Permanent Test Captain Increase After Historic Win In Australia
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Bharat Arun Defends Virat Kohli As Talks Of Ajinkya Rahane To Be The Permanent Test Captain Increase After Historic Win In Australia

India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun has heaped praise on Virat Kohli for taking the team to new heights under the captaincy. He stated that the win ratio under Kohli’s captaincy has increased. His remark had come after many are rooting for Ajinkya Rahane to take over the captaincy.

In the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane guided India to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21. Under his captaincy, India made a great comeback in the four-match Test series after an embarrassing defeat in Adelaide. His hundred in the second Test in MCG sow the seed of belief in the Indian camp which led in remarkable in Brisbane.

Virat Kohli has brought changes over the year: Bharat Arun

Bharat Arun Defends Virat Kohli As Talks Of Ajinkya Rahane To Be The Permanent Test Captain Increase After Historic Win In Australia 4
Bharat Arun. Image Credit: Getty Images.

During an interaction with Sports Today, Bharat Arun lauded Ajinkya Rahane for his fabulous achievement of winning a Test series in Australia despite missing up to six first-team regulars. However, he vouched for Kohli to remain as the Test captain, considering the 32-year-old’s stupendous record despite the Adelaide debacle.

“First thing, I would like to congratulate Ajinkya Rahane for the magnificent job he did in Australia. But to the people who are writing against Virat Kohli, I would just like to put up one stat for them. Out of the 20 series that he has captained, he has won 14 series for India. Which means the percentage of win record is over 70%,” Bharat Arun said.

Bharat Arun Defends Virat Kohli As Talks Of Ajinkya Rahane To Be The Permanent Test Captain Increase After Historic Win In Australia 5
Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Getty Images

Bharat Arun reminded the big culture shift Virat Kohli had brought in India’s dressing room. He stated that the Indian skipper brought in the fitness culture while India’s pace bowling attack has also become strong under him.

“People who tend to write about him have forgotten what he (Virat Kohli) has done over the years. What has Virat not done? The fitness culture he has brought into the team. Fast bowlers, fielding have all gone up under him,” Bharat Arun added.

After the historic triumph in Australia, India will face England in the four-match Test series at home. Virat Kohli will also join the side.

Suresh Raina
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

I Was Not Happy That I Couldn’t Win World Cup 2019 For India: Rishabh Pant

One of the architects of the historic Test match win in The Gabba against Australia, Rishabh Pant has opened up that after the disheartening World Cup 2020, his career went down the spiral. He was disappointed with himself for not guiding India to victory in the World Cup 2019 semi-final against India.

Rishabh Pant has proved that he is the X-factor in the Indian team. His fearless brand of cricket was the highlight of Australia’s tour of India. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored a gritty 97 runs with pain in his elbow in the Sydney Test. He replicated the similar knock in the Gabba and scored unbeaten 83 runs to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

After the Australia tour, Pant is in the headlines for his goods unlike being criticised for even a minor mistake in keeping or batting before the tour. Everyone has acknowledged his style of playing and supporting him to manifest a similar performance for India in the coming tours and tournaments.

My career hit a low after the World Cup: Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter

Speaking to India Today, Rishabh Pant has revealed that the World Cup 2019 was a big learning for him. He has focused only on improving himself and has realised that he will always look for upgrading himself.

“The journey from World Cup 2019 to this has been quite good so far. There have been ups and downs, the World Cup was a massive opportunity because it comes once in every 4 years. But I got out in my 30s, I was very disappointed because that was one of the biggest opportunities for me.

“I was not happy that I couldn’t win the game for my team. My career hit a low after the WC, but then slowly I started increasing my focus towards the game because there is always scope for improvement in life. I’ve realised that there is no limit to how much you can improve, that’s what I’ve got to know in these last 2 years.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

“I think good things will happen if you keep improving yourself and focus on the things that you want to do,” Rishabh Pant told India Today’s Consulting Editor (Sports) Boria Majumdar.

Rishabh Pant is in the squad for the first two Test matches against England at home. But the debate will be still there to chose him or Wriddhiman Saha in the playing XI.

T Natarajan
T Natarajan
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Playing For India And Taking Wickets Was Like A Dream: T Natarajan

T Natarajan had a dream-like tour of Australia. He traveled as the net bowler but ended up debuting in all three formats in the same tour, becoming the first Indian player to do so. Although COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise for him as other Indian bowlers could not travel to Australia as replacements, nobody could take the credit for the massive impact he had in India’s triumph across all the series against Australia.

Swooped in ODIs as the backup of Navdeep Saini, he played the last match of the ODI series, which was the dead rubber but important for India to avoid a clean sweep. The pacer picked up the important wicket of Marnus Labuschagne and executed perfect yorkers to bamboozle Australians.

Playing For India And Taking Wickets Was Like A Dream: T Natarajan 6
T Natarajan. Image Credit: BCCI.

Consecutively, T Natarajan also made the debut in the three-match T20I series. He became the highest wicket-taker of the side, picking six wickets in three matches. He perfectly filled the space of Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested.

The injuries woes led to the ouster of all the premier pacers from the last Test match. Eventually, he was also handed over the Test cap. The left-arm pacer didn’t disappoint and notched three wickets in his debut Test match in The Gabba.

T Natarajan’s journey is nothing less than a fairy tale. It is a perfect story for a Bollywood movie.

Didn’t expect to debut for India: T Natarajan

T Natarajan
T Natarajan. Image credit: Twitter.

T Natarajan was also stunned when the opportunities showered for him. He was also under pressure to play for India but wanted to give it all to that one chance. He is thankful for getting support from all the teammates to Indian coaches, who backed him and supported him throughout.

I was keen to do my job. I didn’t expect to get an opportunity in the ODIs. When I was told that I will be playing there was pressure. I wanted to make use of the opportunity. Playing and taking a wicket was like a dream,” Natarajan told reporters in Chinnappampatti in Salem district.

“I cannot express my happiness in words about playing for India……It was like a dream. I got a lot of support from the coaches, players. They supported and motivated me a lot. I was able to perform well because of their backing,” he said in Tamil.

T Natarajan, who was the only net bowler ahead of Australia’s tour, has now played one Test, one ODI and three T20I with a total of 11 wickets in his name. He has been given rest for the first two Tests against England at the home.

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Washington Sundar Wants To Follow Ravi Shastri’s Footstep: I Will Accept The Challenge Just Like Our Coach Ravi Sir

The spin bowling allrounder Washington Sundar, who was one of the significant contributors to India’s historic triumph in The Gabba, has revealed that he wants to follow the footsteps of India’s head coach Ravi Shastri in his cricket career.

After the completion of the white ball series against Australia, Washington Sundar was retained as the net bowler for the four-match Test series. But fortunately, he got the opportunity to play the debut Test match as India’s regular spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sustained injuries. The duo were ruled out of the injury for the fourth Test.

Washington Sundar was given his Test debut cap in Brisbane. He went on to impress both with bat and ball. After picking three wickets in the first innings, he scored a stunning half-century which cut short Australia’s mammoth lead. His gritty knock instilled hope in India’s camp and eventually, the visitors retained the trophy.

I would love to open the batting in Tests like Ravi Shastri: Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur
Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking to PTI, Washington Sundar said that he is ready to take any opportunity and challenge given to him even if asked to open the batting for India in the Tests. He stated that he would accept the challenges like Ravi Shastri did during his playing days.

“I think it will be a blessing for me if I ever get an opportunity to open the batting for India in Tests. I think I will accept the challenge just like our coach Ravi sir did during his playing days,” Washington told PTI. 

Sundar, Thakur
Sundar, Thakur. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Sundar revealed that the current Indian head coach, who was also a part of the World Cup 1983 triumph, inspires the youngsters a lot with his cricket journey. Shastri was also earlier a number 10 batsman but he capitalise every opportunity thrown to him and finally, he went on to become an opening batsman for India.

“Ravi sir tells us very inspiring stories from his playing days. Like how he made his debut as a specialist spinner, got four wickets and batted at number 10 against New Zealand.”

“And how from there, he became a Test opener and played all those great fast bowlers. I would love to open the batting in Tests like him,” said Washington Sundar said. 

After his heroic in Australia, Washington Sundar has also been named in the Test squad for the first two Tests against England which will be played in Chennai.

The More Beaten I Got, The More Resolve I got: Ravichandran Ashwin Reveals Sydney Heroics
Image Credit: Twitter.
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The More Beaten I Got, The More Resolve I Got: Ravichandran Ashwin Reveals Sydney Heroics

India’s historic Test series victory against Australia includes the heroic of Sydney which instilled self-belief in the Team India camp. And, the architect of that heroic was Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari. The duo nullified all the attack from Australia’s best bowlers to draw the third Test match.

On the final day of the Sydney Test, both R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari were injured and bruised but needed to play more than 40 overs to save the Test. The duo continued to bat on and ensured that the visitors do not lose any wickets and pushed the match to a draw.

The More Beaten I Got, The More Resolve I Got: Ravichandran Ashwin Reveals Sydney Heroics 7
Image Credit: Twitter.

Speaking in a video on Youtube, Ravichandran Ashwin revealed what went down in the middle and questioned Australia’s tactics on the day.

“Australia’s tactics during the fourth innings of the SCG Test really made me curious. Their tactics looked like Australia did not realise what we were doing.

“They must have thought that we guys were not rotating strike because of injury, but the main reason was one guy cannot move his foot forward and the other one was getting body blows, and then suddenly, it became our strategy,” Ashwin told fielding coach R Sridhar on his YouTube channel.

The more beaten I got, the more resolve I got: Ravichandran Ashwin

The More Beaten I Got, The More Resolve I Got: Ravichandran Ashwin Reveals Sydney Heroics 8
Image Credit: Twitter.

Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that Australians instead of taking the wickets were hitting with their bowling. But the body blows only made the spin-bowling allrounder more resolved to take India towards the greatest-ever draw of India’s cricket history.

Ashwin also stated that they were sure that they had the upper hand in the game when Tim Paine started sledging them.

“Then, what happened was, my back became stiff and I could not move. They made a mistake. If they had pitched it up to me, I might have edged or found it difficult, I feel. They thought to scare us off by hitting us everywhere by bouncing.

“It worked counterproductively. The more beaten I got, the more resolve I got. What more is left to be thrown at me? I got an inner resolve. Add to this, Tim Paine started banter as well. You can take it as you want, but at that point, Vihari and I thought that Australia has lost it,” Ravichandran Ashwin added.

After drawing the third Test, India won the last Test match in The Gabba and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Virat Kohli Messaged Around 12:30 am, The Night We Were Bowled Out For 36: India fielding Coach Reveals ‘Mission Melbourne’

After 36 all out in Sydney against Australia, many former cricketers had predicted India will lose the next three matches with Virat Kohli also leaving. But the Indian skipper was all through connected with the team, as Ravi Shastri said. Fielding coach R Sridhar has also revealed that Virat Kohli also had an important discussion with the team after Sydney Test to plan for the Melbourne Test.

Ag Lowest Test Total
Image Credit: Twitter.

During a conversation with off-spinner R Ashwin on the latter’s Youtube channel, Sridhar said Kohli had messaged him around 12:30 am after India suffered a humiliating loss in Adelaide to discuss the plans for the next Test in Melbourne.

“It was midnight, around 12.30 am, the night we lost the Adelaide Test. Virat Kohli messaged me: ‘What are you doing?’ I was shocked. I thought why is he messaging at this time? I told him head coach (Ravi Shastri), myself, Bharat Arun, and Vikram Rathour are sitting together. He said, ‘I’ll also join you’. I said, ‘no problem, come over.’

“He came there and all of us started discussing. That’s where ‘Mission Melbourne’ began. Shastri made a point there, ‘This 36, wear it like a badge! This 36 is what will make this team great’,” Sridhar said.

Ravi Shastri, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling: Sridhar

Virat Kohli Messaged Around 12:30 am, The Night We Were Bowled Out For 36: India fielding Coach Reveals 'Mission Melbourne' 9
Image Credit: Getty Images.

R Sridhar revealed that Ajinkya Rahane, who was due to take India’s captaincy, and Kohli gathered for a long discussion for chalking out the plans for the MCG Test. And, the outcome of the meeting was that Ravindra Jadeja will replace Virat Kohli in the playing XI, which turned out to be a masterstroke. The spin-bowling allrounder scored a crucial fifty and also became the leading wicket-taker in the second Test match.

“We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we’d have to take. Virat called Ajinkya the next morning and we had a very good discussion. After a 36 all-out, usually, teams would strengthen their batting. But Ravi Shastri, Virat, and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling. That’s how we replaced Virat with Ravindra Jadeja, and it was a masterstroke,” concluded Sridhar.

Team India defied all the predictions and turned the table after the great MCG comeback. Eventually, Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian side retained the trophy and won the four-match Test series by 2-0.

Suresh Raina
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Suresh Raina Helped Rishabh Pant To Let Out All The Pressure Of Expectations

Rishabh Pant was earlier under a lot of scrutiny for his wicketkeeping and batting before he turned out as one of the heroes of India’s historic win against Australia in the Test series. Former Indian cricketer Suresh Raina reveals that he had spent a lot of time with the youngster to give him a break from all the outer noises.

Speaking in an interview with Cricbuzz, Raina recalled Pant telling him that he wants to be the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world.

“Bhaiya, I want to be the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world,” Pant had told Raina.

Rishabh Pant just wanted a break from it all, from the media and from everything: Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina Helped Rishabh Pant To Let Out All The Pressure Of Expectations 10
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Chennai Super King batsman Raina further added that he did not have much to do with Pant’s growth as he is an exceptional talent. However, he helped him to let express himself freely when the duo meets during the practice sessions back in June.

“I really didn’t have much to do with it. He is a young cricketer bursting with talent who in my view is set to become a great player for India. Back in June he’d just come off a not so good time with the bat.

“There was a lot of talk about him. So, he just wanted a break from it all, from the media and from everything. All he wanted me to do was listen. He wasn’t looking for me to give anything, forget a solution,” Raina said.

“When we weren’t at training, he would be home all day, playing with my kids, chatting with the wife. We watched a lot of comedies on Netflix, ate a lot of good food, whatever he felt like eating, and just chatted away.

Rishabh Pant,
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Suresh Raina and Rishabh Pant spent quality time with each other. Both of them worked on fitness.

“We would go for drives around the city, either in his yellow car or at times in mine. We would listen to the music that we both enjoy. It was all so positive and even during those drives, he would open up a lot, and all I did was let him talk,” he added.

“He did a lot of fitness work with me. With his batting, it wasn’t technical at all. It was more about getting into the right mind-set and feeling good about his cricket and his enjoying his game,” Raina further revealed.

Rishabh Pant scored all-important 97 runs in the Sydney to help India guide to a draw. He played one of the greatest knock of the contemporary world in The Gabba where he amassed over 80 runs to seal the deal for India. His explosive knocks helped India to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Zaheer Abbas,
Zaheer Abbas. (Image Credit: Google)
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India Reaping Rewards For Investing In Cricketing Structure, Says Zaheer Abbas

After India registered a ginormous victory against Australia in the four-match Test series, Pakistan batting legend Zaheer Abbas has credited the domestic structure of Indian cricket to provide a talented bench strength.

India’s win is being remarked as the greatest because they played without most of their senior players. Their premier pacers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav were injured during the series while Jasprit Bumrah also missed the last Test because of injury. But the bunch of young, debutants and inexperienced Test players guided India to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21.

Australia vs India: 4th Tests- Team India To Reveal Playing XI During Toss: Reports
Image Credit: Getty Images.

Zaheer Abbas believes India is reaping rich rewards for the investment it made in its cricketing structure in the last decade, a testament of which is its recent historic triumph in Australia.

“That has happened because India has invested and planned on their cricket structure a lot in the last decade and today they are reaping the benefits of that hard work,” he added.

The former captain lamented the decline of Pakistan cricket and said hard work was the only solution to success.

“In cricket, I have always believed that it is how much hard work and time an individual player is willing to put into his game that matters the most. No amount of coaching or advice can make you a top player unless you work hard on your game yourself,” Abbas was quoted as saying in a show on Geo TV.

Zaheer Abbas called on Pakistani cricketers to work more:

India Reaping Rewards For Investing In Cricketing Structure, Says Zaheer Abbas 11
Team India. Image Credit: BCCI.

Zaheer Abbas, fondly called ‘Asian Bradman’ for his high-scoring feats, also noted that India’s triumph in Australia was all the more praiseworthy because it came in the absence of their regular captain Virat Kohli and many senior players, who were sidelined with injuries.

Stating that there was no substitute for hard work, Zaheer Abbas called on Pakistani cricketers to work more on their individual games.

“In our times we didn’t have specialised coaches, just mentors. We were expected to work hard and devote time to our training and nets if we wanted to become big players,” he said.

Meanwhile, India will next play the full-fledged series against England at home while Pakistan will be playing bilateral series against South Africa.

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